Dear community, friends & family,
Thank you for your many prayers, mantras, good wishes, visits, inquiries, & smiles.
I just had my last check-up with the doctors and everything is fine. I still need a bit of exercise & therapy to strengthen my leg & core muscels but I now have new knees and I can WALK!
My heart aches with gratitude.
Thank you my friends,
Fun trip to Denver
We would like to thank everyone for their support of the CCC youth trip to Denver on March 1-3. We especially appreciate the Crestone Mercantile and Elephant Cloud for collecting food donations and for everyone who helped by buying items or making a financial contribution. We had an excellent time staying at a youth hostel, going to the 1st Friday Art Walk, playing at Jump Street, volunteering at the SAME Cafe, exploring the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, watching Mastadons & Mammoths at the IMAX Theater, shopping on 16th Street Mall and hanging out at the Denver Skate Park. Thank you for helping us make this trip a success!
Crestone Creative Council
in dog attack
Dear Editor and Community,
We are sorry to have to report that there has been another dog attack directed at horses with riders on their backs, this time with even more serious, life-threatening results. On Tuesday, March 19, three experienced riders who were riding on their own, longtime horses, were thrown from their mounts after a large, black dog with a red collar attacked the horses while riding on Willow Creek Trail. All three riders were transported to the hospital by ambulance; and one of the three was air-lifted to Denver on a “flight-for-life” with a serious head injury. The other two riders’ injuries are not as serious, though they are in pain and will need time to heal. They were treated and released from the hospital.
This is the fourth incident in the last year-and-a-half of a dog attacking horses with riders on their backs. The riders have been on equestrian easements or on public roads at the time of these attacks. Otherwise human-friendly dogs often will attack if they are not familiar with horses and are loose. Nearly all of us at the stables are dog owners and/or dog lovers. This is not about being anti-dog. This is about being pro responsible dog ownership.
Even though this was not a stables-led trail ride, we are considering no longer offering trail rides at the Baca Grande Stables. We would hate to do this, but until dog owners take responsibility for their loose dogs, we cannot take the risk of having children or inexperienced riders on trails or roads in the Baca. We will continue to offer boarding and lessons in our arenas, including the Children’s Summer Riding Program.
Joanna and Eli Dokson
Baca Grande Stables
Horse accident help gratitude
On March 19, my fellow riders and I were part of a nasty wreck on our horses. I want to express my sincere thanks for the caring response from our ambulance crew, firefighters, stables family, and passersby. There were so many people helping that I can’t possibly name all of you. I’m one of your EMS providers and never dreamed that I’d be on the receiving end of our services. I learned so much that awful day. Everyone was incredible. I also want to shout a huge thank you to the man that stopped his car, called 911, and stayed until help arrived. I wish all good things come your way. To the four drivers that sped by me while I lay at the edge of the road . . . I’ve got nothing.
My gratitude is boundless to all of you that saved us. I’ll make sure to pay it forward.
impacts on trails
Use of bicycles on hiking trails causes rapid soil erosion especially during the spring mud season, which is already here. So, mountain bikers, please take pause to think about your impact. Although bicycles are clean and green, here’s what happens to hiking trails when bicycles join the fray: the sharper curves in the trail can widen and become banked and gouged out. Sometimes when a rider is unable to maneuver over an obstacle, especially with our rocky outcrops, he (she) goes around it, often onto fresh ground. Early or late in the year, snow and ice may be present. To avoid the ice or sometimes deep mud there are more detours. In a relatively short time, and depending on how many bicycles pass through, a small footpath can become a small road. Deep tire marks and an eroded path are an enduring reminder, which touches more on aesthetics.
Mountain biking is a mixed bag with respect to environmental ethics. I have seen it in many places over the years, as I too am a cyclist. Most popular “singletrack” areas, places where bicycles can ride on hiking trails, I think of as sacrifice zones, or soon to become. Maybe this is one reason I am not such an avid mountain biker these days. In the summer, Crested Butte is a mountain biking mecca. In CB most local hikers avoid areas where off-road vehicles are allowed access, which on some trails also includes motorcycles. So far, Crestone is less attractive to these tourists. Being a bicycling enthusiast myself, I know that no matter what we do, there is an environmental impact. On the small scale, Crestone scale, hiking along a trail one notices the small changes to this special, natural place that is our backyard. So, if you insist on riding your bike using the hiking/horse trails in the Baca, especially the South Crestone Creek trail, please stay tightly on the existing trail even if it is rocky and difficult to navigate. This is an outstanding, aesthetically beautiful trail which deserves to be taken care of.
Freebox etiquette &
the zombie apocalypse
It’s springtime at the Freebox. It’s that time again to remember and appreciate the Freebox. Thank you Freebox! But just as freedom isn’t free neither is the Freebox. It takes volunteers and a general willingness to abide by the Freebox guidelines. Unfortunately, the Freebox has fallen once again to the lowest common denominator. Volunteerism continues to be low. The spring Freebox dumping season has already begun. Seems like some people are more interested in free dumpster service than the Freebox.
The Freebox dumpster is not free. It is paid for by the property owner and the Town of Crestone. It is not a public dumpster. Dumpster diving is emphatically not encouraged. How would you like someone coming onto your backyard and going through your dumpster or putting their trash there? Parking continues to be an issue. People are blocking the driveway of the residents and blasting their stereos. Not cool. Generally the Freebox looks like something out of the third world. A never ending supply of worn out shoes and dirty stained clothing, blank VHS, single chopsticks and burnt out candles. Lol. Of course the good stuff doesn’t last long there, just the crap which is endless. The Freebox has its limits.
Where are the volunteers? The old timers say: been there, done that. It’s someone else’s turn. Newbies, please volunteer and consider adopting one of the clothing bins on a regular basis. This is karma yoga people. Please read the Freebox guidelines posted in the Freebox.
Let’s thank them
There are many unsung heroes in this community. Three of them will be honored at a dinner hosted by the Democratic Party on Saturday, April 27 at 6:30pm at the Saguache Community Center.
Jackie Stephens has served 26 years as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Saguache County Democratic Party, Randy Arredondo has served nearly 16 years, and Pete Peterson has also served many years. They all have stepped down from these positions and we want to honor their years of dedication and service.
It will be a fun night with music, a dessert auction and some great guests to be announced. We’re serving pulled pork, baked potatoes & cole slaw plus vegetarian lasagna.
It’s a $10 donation per person. Please RSVP by April 20 to Lynne Thompson at 754-9163 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. After April 20, RSVPs will be accepted if space is available. Naturally, additional donations are welcomed as the Saguache Democratic Party heads into the off year elections. For any donations please contact Judy Marold at 655-2320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you and thanks for any and all support.
Library requests input
To the Community:
The purpose of Friends of the Library is to support the Crestone/Baca Library. With the intent of building on a long tradition of community efforts to establish and sustain our library, we started meeting about two years ago. At that same time, Northern Saguache County (which includes the communities of Crestone, Moffat, Villa Grove, and Saguache) voted to establish the Northern Saguache County Library District (NSCLD).
The library district is responsible for maintaining and enhancing library services in both Crestone/Baca and Saguache. Benefits of the new district for the Crestone/Baca library thus far have included access to interlibrary loan services and new computers.
Recently, Friends of the Library completed the application for a 501(c)3 non-profit exempt status, along with Articles-of-Incorporation, By-Laws pertaining to the Articles-of-Incorporation, and a memorandum of understanding with the Northern Saguache County Library District. We now intend to work with the NSCLD Board of Directors and Facilities Committee to pursue the idea of a new, more conveniently located library building for the Crestone/Baca area. We are also planning to raise funds for this exciting new endeavor.
Some suggestions to date are to relocate the present library to be more central to Crestone and the Crestone Community, which would allow increased accessibility for all residents.
We hope the library will have a conference-meeting room for residents to meet, share, teach, and discuss topics of importance to the community. There are lots of great ideas out there and we need you to share them with us! We respectfully request your input.
All suggestions are significant.
To offer your ideas or to become an active volunteer with Friends of the Library, please contact one of us or talk to staff out at the library.
Friends of the Library
Thom Ontko, President, Parvin Johnson, Vice President, Julia Voss, Secretary/Treasurer
PS: Don’t miss the Friends of the Library Bake Sale in front of the post office on Monday April 15 from 10am to 3pm!
But . . . What does it mean?
Okay, we have a Fire District based on voter choice, but what does it mean? There is no money, so it is “Active, but NOT Operational”. To be “operational”, it must be funded . . . which means yet another mil levy.
Can we afford that with our property taxes going up, the Moffat School District demanding more tax money, and the POA Board crying for higher dues?
I called Alamosa Fire Chief Don Campbell and was given this data. As chief he:
1. is paid $20k/year from city $4k/year from fire district vs. our POA chief is paid $38K + stipends + housing + income from Crestone. Note: Average income for Saguache Co: $14K/year.
2. averages 250 calls/year actual fires vs. POA’s 6 brush fires/year
3. oversees 26 volunteers
4. is responsible for all inspections/training/reports (no secretary) does payroll records in/council meetings
5. manages 2 fire houses;
6. Territory covered: 12,000-15,000 population and 350 sq. miles vs. POA: 156 sq. mi and 1000 pop.
7. volunteers are paid per call plus Worker’s Comp and training stipends, etc.
I contend that whatever problems we currently have with the emergency response can be corrected without implementing yet another mil levy for a “special fire district” that we don’t need. Like the POA or not, the fire protection has been operational and functional for 30+ years.
After talking to Sheriff Norris, Saguache County Fire Marshall, he says that they now have the mhz necessary to route emergency calls to Crestone and to all needed fire departments. Our county taxes already pay for their 24/7 dispatcher, so it’s free to us. Problem solved.
Now it is time for the POA board to compare our fire department budget with that of Alamosa’s and Saguache’s fire budget and make realistic changes.
Claudia B. Wolfe
Dear Editor and Community:
On March 5, and at a rate of nearly 2 to 1, the voters supported the basic concept of an Emergency Services District by voting No to the Crestone Emergency Services District’s (CrESD) dissolution. The district’s board of directors deeply appreciates what amounts to a significant expression of support for the emergency services volunteers. Although the support is gratifying and an impressive mandate, the district currently has no ability to become operational and implement the reasons that a district was proposed in the first place, namely:
· Solves the fire and ambulance liability problem of the Baca Grande Property Owners Association (POA) and its members.
· Provides the protection of governmental immunity to both the new fire district and its employees and volunteers.
· Provides communication consolidation and training compatibility with other emergency service providers within the region leading to potentially quicker and more effective emergency responses.
· Provides a local public board whose only focus is upon the safety of the people and their property.
· Provides for management according to Colorado law instead of POA by-laws.
· Is able to participate in inter-governmental agreements of mutual aid with other fire protection districts.
· Provides local control of costs. Only voters can increase the mill levy, whereas the 5-member board of the POA sets the Baca Grande dues.
· Most importantly, the district could provide emergency services in the areas currently without fire protection, and it has the near unanimous support of the emergency volunteers.
The CrESD board had its first meeting post-election on Thursday, March 14, and the main topic on the table was “Where do we go from here?” With no revenue stream except donations and a sales tax grant, CrESD, for the past year, could only pay to oppose a law suit filed by the opposition, and pay for elections, including, the Dissolution Election. In order to function, CrESD must be able to afford, at a minimum, legal representation and liability insurance. We propose to go back to the beginning, review and analyze the original service plan and proposed budget, and to seek funding from the areas currently without fire protection. In those areas, there has been some interest in establishing the infrastructure to ensure minimal fire protection.
We will be meeting on the 2nd Thursday of every month to review our charter, and to seek interim funding. We welcome the community to help us achieve relevancy, and, finally become operational.
Board of Directors,
Crestone Fire Protection District, dba Crestone Emergency Services District
To the voting majority,
I’m taking this moment to express my gratitude and that of the fire department volunteers for your decision on March 5 to retain the Crestone Emergency Services District. By a two-to-one margin, we have chosen wisely to maintain a viable option for resolving very real challenges that our community in triplicate faces in the provision of emergency services. The definitive decision from our public has given our emergency service personnel a clear indication of support for more unified and effective services.
I can honestly say that we are seeing the benefits of this decision already. Foremost, I witnessed healing occur between the community members and the volunteers on election day. The face-to-face interactions at the intersection were full of camaraderie, good will, smiles and thumbs up from both sides. Having been the target of misinformation for so long, it had become challenging for us as responders not to attribute the negative input we were receiving to our community. You have shown us better and I hold, for the wellbeing of our community, that the actions of a vocal few should never again render the rest of us into a role of the dumb (mute) public. Our best means of moving forward is to do so with openness, honesty and candor. The district, our emergency services, and emergency responders uphold these values and beseech our public to continue to participate constructively.
Although the district is unable, without funding, to become operational at this time, collaborative efforts for improving public safety are being investigated. I hope that the district can participate and assist with the efforts of the currently operating services to improve interoperability and provide a forum for public education and interaction. Please keep an eye open for informational meetings and opportunities in the coming months.
In the face of a daunting wildfire season, it is a critical time to put aside divisive politics and focus on basic preservation measures necessary for all of us living in an ecosystem prone to catastrophic wildfires. Please, access our knowledge to educate yourselves about home defensible space, emergency preparedness kits, and your personal evacuation procedures. We will continue to serve as we can, so thank you again for voting to retain a valuable community service organization and re-vitalizing the hearts and souls of those already serving.
Ever in service,
A time for red tape
No matter how one feels about assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and such, I believe every person who deals with reality and rational thought is in favor of not allowing convicted felons and the dangerously mentally ill to continue purchasing firearms. As it stands now there is no federal requirement, nor any in many states as well, that a background check be made at gun shows and for individual sales. Only federally licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct such checks.
I could easily sell my guns to my new neighbor, not knowing his background. He could have just been released from prison after completing a sentence for murder and there is no requirement for me to find that out before I accept his cash.
It is easy to find all kinds of statistics—misleading quite often—from all sides of the argument; but if required universal background checks saved but one life, would they not be worth it?
I just got off the phone with the office of our representative in Washington D.C., Scott Tipton, and was told in no uncertain terms that Mr. Tipton does not support requiring universal background checks because they would create too much red tape for legitimate transactions.
At times red tape saves lives and in those situations it needs to be created.
Please contact Mr. Tipton’s office and let him know that in this case a little red tape makes for common sense.